Month: August 2014

Ruby-Throated Humming Bird Feeder Wars….

Yesterday morning well before sunrise I went out to the patio and retrieved my hummingbird feeder. It was time for its weekly cleaning and refill. With late summer closing in I thought that later in the morning I would go out and try to capture a few photographs of some of the hummers that had been around this year. I sit on my patio just about every morning drinking a cup of coffee or two and watching them come and go. And because I don’t have all that many it is somewhat easy to soon become familiar with certain ones and their personalities.

My Resident Female(My Resident Female – Click to Enlarge)

It was around 8:00 AM as I prepared my camera and was about to go out and set it up near the feeder when I looked out and noticed there were a couple of hummingbirds really going at each other around the feeder. I went ahead and went out, set up the camera, grabbed my coffee and was ready for my photo shoot. I sat down to relax for a moment and the two hummers were immediately back and trying to exert their dominance over the feeder. One of the gladiators was one of my resident females who I really liked and is quite elegant. The other was a very aggressive male which was not a part of the daily visitors and must have happened upon the feeder by chance this morning, perhaps even in the process of migrating already.

Anyway, to my amazement for the next 2½ hours the two did battle never straying more than 6 feet or so from the feeder. Photographically speaking, I was in hog heaven because the least of their interest was me and during the time period I shot well over a hundred photos. Of course, many didn’t turn out and many were quite similar in content. Thought I would share a few of those this morning and remember to see a larger version, just click on the desired photo….

Feeder Wars - 12
Feeder Wars - 01

Feeder Wars - 03
Feeder Wars - 05

As previously mentioned, this display of domination and aggression went on for over two hours when finally they literally locked up and went to the ground almost in a ‘ball’ configuration and then just laid there on the patio floor motionless. I really thought they had been injured or something. They were on the patio about three feet or so from me so I shuffled one of my feet and they apparently relinquished their holds and each other and flew off. The male never came back so obviously the victory and the feeder went to my beloved female. Hoooorah! 🙂

Anyone in the market for a $2000 chicken?

I’m sure the majority of you will remember the famous commercial that had the very familiar tag line…. “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” In our case of the photograph shown below perhaps we could say…. “Is it alive, or is it a ceramic?”

Ayam-Cemani-Greenfire-Farms-01Breed – Ayam Cemani (Photo Credit : Greenfire Farms)

Well, when I ran across the photo of this chicken and someone was trying to pass it off as real… well to be quite honest I had very strong doubts. Turns out, it’s as real as you or I. You can’t tell me that photo doesn’t look like a bronze statue of a chicken – pure and simple! And check this one out and tell me that wouldn’t look great on a nice end table….

Ayam-Cemani-02Breed – Ayam Cemani (Photo Credit : Unknown)

Fact is, I was just taken back by the statuette nature of this bird. Quite beautiful and the iridescent feathers are more than striking. These chickens are of the Ayam Cemani breed and are apparently of Indonesian decent.

After doing a little research I ran across a farm in northern Florida which offers these birds for sale along with numerous other breeds, all of which look quite exceptional to me. I tell you the truth, if I had a few acres in the country I would have a number of these chickens for sure. I found the website to be quite helpful and educational to boot. If you’re curious you can take a tour here – Greenfire Farms. All the various breeds are listed on the left-hand side of the webpage where you’ll find numerous photos and select videos of the breeds.

At any rate, just wanted to share my discovery although it may only be a discovery of any consequence to me alone. I also ran across a video that might be of interest to some. I found it to have some educational value myself. When it comes to chickens, I’ve led a very sheltered life with exception of the chicken section at the local grocery store.

Movie Review – “The Butler” (2013)

4-Star Post MasterThe Butler - 2013 - 1

I have looked forward for almost a year to seeing this film and it finally became available to me recently. I admittedly knew little about the details of the plot but had certainly been caught up in the hype surrounding the movie – the true story of a butler who served in the White House through eight consecutive Administrations. Almost hard to imagine and certainly intriguing to ponder what that life was like and all the history making events he would be somewhat privy to be a part.

Bottom line… In the end I was very disappointed in the film. So much so that it has taken me over two weeks, off and on, to gather my thoughts into the manner I wanted to present them. Again, I don’t know what I expected from the film but I didn’t expect to see ground which had already been plowed up time and time again in numerous other good films be subjected to another plowing and made part of an almost completely fictional plot.

You say you thought it was based on a true story? To say the film is based on a true story would be better stated a saying loosely based on a true story and even that is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. There are certainly a lot of true events related to in the film but unfortunately they are presented within the confines of a fictional plot for the most part.

Eugene Allen

“The Butler” is a screen play written by Danny Strong which is actually based on an article that appeared in The Washington Post titled “A Butler Well Served by This Election” back in 2008. The article was written by Wil Haygood, a Washington Post staff writer and can be read ‘here’. As noted in the article, the actual name of the man portrayed in the film by actor Forest Whitaker as ‘the butler’ is Eugene Allen.

Lee Daniels, an African-American, was the Director of the film. The performances by the actors in the film were outstanding, especially those of Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. That unfortunately is about all the accolades I can spare for this film. It was entertaining but when a little ‘after the fact’ research was done about the film, I came away feeling as though I had been duped.

Forest Whitaker & Oprah Winfrey

The film’s eye-opening beginning takes place in a cotton field supposedly somewhere in Georgia and the white landowner comes into the field where the family is working alongside other workers. Our main character who as at the time a small boy along with his father watches as the landowner takes his mother to a small shanty nearby and rapes her. Then as he is leaving the father says something to the landowner who then stops, takes out a gun and kills the father, then casually walks off. The intent of the film of course was to show the absolute lack of worth a black man’s life had in those times but as to it factual basis as relates to the life of the film’s main character, it is completely fictional and never happened.

Eugene Allen and his wife had a son and a daughter. In the film they are portrayed as having two sons, one younger son with a demeanor similar to his fathers and an older son who is portrayed as a civil rights activist. The younger son serves in Vietnam and is killed which is completely fictional. Eugene’s real son, Charles Allen, did serve in Vietnam but was honorably discharged and returned to civilian life where he worked as an investigator for the State Department. Charles Allen was never the radical civil rights activist portrayed in the film.

In the film his older son is portrayed as a black activist during the civil rights movement as a backdrop to his position as head butler in the White House. His son is portrayed as participating in every major civil rights event from the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in to joining the Black Panthers while his father, the butler, takes a more passive stance given his position in the White House. It is this tension between the father and son over civil rights issues that fuel the majority of the drama in the film.

To put it quite simply, the film for me would have been a much more enjoyable experience overall if it had simply been produced as a fictional drama and not passed off to the public for something it wasn’t.

In closing, as I have often stated with regard to my reviews… they are my reviews and my personal take on the films I review as I see it. It is not my purpose to encourage or dissuade anyone else with regard to viewing the films.